Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

This “prepper” road trip just got a little too real

Written By: Bob - Jul• 31•13


The cast of Doomsday Preppers spin-off, Doomsday Castle, who are preparing for life after an EMP.

The cast of Doomsday Preppers spin-off, Doomsday Castle, who are preparing for life after an EMP.

After a five-hour drive, I’m unwinding in a hotel room at an undisclosed location in western South Carolina (or is that southern West Carolina? Maybe southwestern North Carolina?), preparing to go visit the site of National Geographic Channel’s new series, Doomsday Castle, tomorrow. I fire up my laptop to see what I’ve missed when on the road, and learn that a massive solar flare that could have fried the Earth’s electronics missed us two weeks ago.

The earth barely missed taking a massive solar punch in the teeth two weeks ago, an “electromagnetic pulse” so big that it could have knocked out power, cars and iPhones throughout the United States.

Two EMP experts told Secrets that the EMP flashed through earth’s typical orbit around the sun about two weeks before the planet got there.

“The world escaped an EMP catastrophe,” said Henry Cooper, who led strategic arms negotiations with the Soviet Union under President Reagan, and who now heads High Frontier, a group pushing for missile defense.

“There had been a near miss about two weeks ago, a Carrington-class coronal mass ejection crossed the orbit of the Earth and basically just missed us,” said Peter Vincent Pry, who served on the Congressional EMP Threat Commission from 2001-2008. He was referring to the 1859 EMP named after astronomer Richard Carrington that melted telegraph lines in Europe and North America.

Did I mention that “Doomsday Castle” was built for the specific threat of an EMP?

It’s a little unsettling to think that just such a natural disaster missed us by such a cosmic hair’s breadth, especially when you consider how poorly our infrastructure, transportation, and shipping systems are designed to handle it. If you’ve ever read Forestchen’s One Second After, depicting life after such an event, it’s very sobering stuff.

I’ve made sure that my closest neighbors have a copy of A Failure of Civility. Maybe it’s time to get serious about formulating that Neighborhood Protection Plan.

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  1. Catseye says:

    There have actually been 3 or is it 4 since this solar cycle began. Two were pointed far away from earth and the last two have been close. Like I said I’m planning on getting a crossbow, when you get to the point where you have to make your own quarrels remember they won’t work as well as the optimized store bought stuff. And yes, I have plans just in case. Once the SHTF event happens I believe it will be a lot easier to get people to listen to them. Once the panic dies down that is.

  2. Catseye says:

    And for research purposes try looking up “The Carrington Event”, 1859 I believe.

  3. Right_2_Bear says:

    “If you’ve ever read Forestchen’s One Second After, depicting life after such an event, it’s very sobering stuff.”

    The book “Lucifer’s Hammer” first got me thinking how precarious and fragile civilization is. I haven’t read “One Second After” – but it is now added to my reading list.

    Whether it is a comet, asteroid, EMP, or war, civilization is just a couple meals away from complete breakdown.

    • Rob Crawford says:

      “Lucifer’s Hammer” is a classic.

      For a semi-historical prepper story, read Daniel Defoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year”. While it’s labeled fiction, and was sold as fiction, he apparently took the details from his uncle’s diary from the year 1665, when the Black Plague last hit London. Lots of recognizable prepper thoughts — bug in or bug out, how quick to you make your call, how effective is the government.

      Bonus realism: in the early days of the plague, the official death statistics are “adjusted” to cover up the plague deaths.

  4. Matt says:

    I think my car would probably still run just fine. Cruise control and radio would be toast. Some people say the diodes in the alternator would be fried, but I doubt it, there’s massive back EMF when cranking the engine so it would take a lot to fry them. Add to that the solid steel body and the really limited capture surface of the wiring, and unless it was close to dead center, the car would be ok.

    Mechanical fuel pump, mechanical fuel injection, no spark plugs, no computer running every thing. I like old diesels.

    • Bob says:

      I think you’re most likely right. In ’98 my wife and I were traveling on I-85 during a brutal thunderstorm when we took either a direct or near-direct lightning strike. It knocked out the radio for the trip, but didn’t cause the car to sputter once. The next time we fired up the car the radio came back. Cars are pretty well-grounded, so fears that vehicles will all be toast probably aren’t very well founded.

      What will make things problematic are the lack of non-computerized back-up systems in transportation hubs. Trucks might be able to roll to your local stores, but they won’t necessarily know what to pick up from where, when, and what they will need to deliver to specific locations. It will could be a logistical nightmare.

      • Chuck says:

        Not to mention gas pumps don’t work without electricity so most are only, at best, a tank of gas (more likely a half tank or less) away from walking.

    • Right_2_Bear says:

      ” I like old diesels.” Me too. I have a 30 year old diesel Benz that will not quit. Old diesels are a great prepper choice.

  5. Survival Skvez says:

    The odds are good that vehicles will still work … initially. However traffic lights and street lights will stop so there will be problems at junctions and increases in accidents.
    Petrol stations will not have power to power the pumps to re-full vehicles. People will literally run out of fuel on the street and cause massive grid-lock. Even if *you* still have fuel in a day or two there won’t be any clear roads to drive on.
    And that’s just driving related. No grid will rapidly lead to no water, no food and no communication (TV / radio / internet / cell network).
    And since a Carrington style event is likely to affect pretty much the whole world there will be no-one coming to your rescue … ever.

  6. Catseye says:

    Urban areas will get real bad real fast. How many people can’t walk down 10 flights of stairs with the lights on and there won’t be emergency lighting for long. Cities have always impressed me as being nothing more than large deathtraps if something goes wrong.
    The diseases civilization has long since dispelled will kick in fast. Dysentary from drinking unsterilized water, Lockjaw/Tetanus from small wounds that weren’t treated. And antibiotics will be gone very fast.
    Gas won’t be that big of a problem there are hand pumps and siphoning. Securing food and sterile water will be the big issues. Literally the day in day out concern. And it won’t stop being the big issue, ever.
    Worst of all will be the panic in the immediate aftermath. Then there’s fire, I expect fires in some urban areas will burn for days or longer.

  7. thesouthwasrght says:

    I am amazed at peoples’ apathy regarding the fact that we are in store for some historic times here soon. EMP is a concern but I feel economics are the bigger threat.

  8. Catseye says:

    That Carrington class solar storm that nearly missed Earth two weeks ago, it never happened. So it’s only been 3 x-class solar storms. You might want to bookmark this site:

  9. Joe says:


    SPACE WEATHER FACT CHECK: Many readers are asking about a report in the Washington Examiner, which states that a Carrington-class solar storm narrowly missed Earth two weeks ago. There was no Carrington-class solar storm two weeks ago. On the contrary, solar activity was low throughout the month of July. The report is erroneous. The possibility of such a storm is, however, worth thinking about: A modern Carrington event would cause significant damage to our high-tech society. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

  10. Phil says:

    Bob, if I claim that a life-ending asteroid narrowly missed the Earth two weeks ago, would you trust my claim or would you check my “facts”

    No, there was no Carrington solar storm two weeks ago.

  11. Parabellum says:

    C’mon Bob. Where is it? (I’m in WNC)

    • Bob says:

      Sorry, PB.

      This project began over a decade ago, and they only came forward for Preppers after one of the kids convinced Brent Sr that some of what the show can teach might save lives in the event of SHTF down the road.

      I gave my word that I’ll keep their location safe, and I will honor that commitment.